Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Finish!

As you might have guessed would happen from my 42 blocks in 48 hours post, I was able to complete my Lovely Year of Finishes March project on time. I had an added incentive--the recipients--our good friends Steven and Katie--drove 6 hours to visit us for the weekend, so I was able to "give" them the quilt top. (Give as in it needs to be quilted!)

They loved it; I'm happy with it; everyone's happy! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday 42 blocks in 48 hours!

I could have had a flip book of quilt-in-progress photos to share as blocks kept going up on the design wall, and if I'd realized the direction these blocks were headed (as in 42 blocks made, start to finish, in 2 days), I would have done it. But instead you just get 3 photos, all with wildly different color because of varying lighting conditions (the third is most accurate). 

Here's my current WIP:

Tuesday afternoon, 3:30 pm

Tuesday evening, 11 pm

Wednesday afternoon, 2:30 pm
Blocks complete! 

Now I just need to finesse the layout and sew them together before Sunday, as this is my March Lovely Year of Finishes project. Under the wire, as usual. But bring it on, March 31...I'm going to finish in time!

What is it, you ask? 
(Besides a really cool pattern--Urban Lattice--which can be found for free here)
It's a couch snuggling wedding gift for some of our closest friends. The palette was a challenge--going partly on a hunch and then asking the male half of the couple--I knew that they are more into a warm color scheme, whereas I'm a blue/green girl. I bought a few quarter yards of reds, browns and blacks to supplement my stash and really like the look despite those pieced squares not being "my" colors.

How did these blocks come together so quickly? Three reasons.
1. A deadline is a real motivator.
2. Big blocks with only 4 seams each.
3. And the real reason: my Mom has been in town visiting and served as "sous chef" as she often does. Meaning my butt didn't leave my sewing chair. She cut and pressed and handed me blocks-in-progress  while I just pressed the pedal to the metal, stitching my little heart out.

Thanks Mom! Next time we'll do a quilt for you instead of me! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dresden finish!

With so many projects in the works at the moment, I needed a "finish." So I pulled out my Dresden bullseye (only needing a binding, and untouched for the last 7 weeks) and began auditioning different binding choices. Thanks to everyone who offered up suggestions of colors to try!

Here's what I tried:

The matching orange


Light blue

A navy and orange stripe I had on hand

And I! 
I really like the sleek, modern-ish look that the same color binding creates.

I looked back, and my original post on this quilt was January 31st. I had missed photographing it in snow by a day. It is now March 22. Perhaps the only benefit of it having snowed here on the first day of spring is that I finally did get a photo of this project in the snow!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish It Friday.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday Ombre Dot Chevron Update

At the end of last week, I was in full-on shower prep mode, getting ready for my sister-in-law's baby shower (so fun!), and then switched back to sewing mode yesterday.

I completed all of the HSTs I needed for the Ombre Chevron Sew Along that I blogged about last week. Hooray! That is definitely mindless sewing.

I'll be honest, as I was finishing them up yesterday and started laying them out, I really didn't think the chevron look was going to work with the dots. I put it away and went to bed, figuring I'd try again in the morning.

Fresh day, fresh perspective.
I just needed to be a bit more deliberate in my placement. 

Even so, I tried a couple other lay out options as well.
The angled shade:

 The pinwheel:

I still think I like the chevron best, but I do like the angled shade as well. What do you think?
Next up: Choosing a lay out, assembling the top, and getting ready to quilt it!
You can find out more about the Sew Along, hosted over at Sew Fine Fabric, here.

And I can't resist leaving you with a few photos from the baby shower.

I made the cupcakes--these were the third batch. I just wasn't happy with the flavor/texture of the first two. I'm a bit neurotic, I know. These, and the buttercream frosting (made with 4 sticks of butter!!), were delicious!

Washcloth puppy dogs, inspired by Pinterest, were table decorations

Chocolate-covered oreos decorated as puppy dogs (are you seeing a theme here?) as favors.

Blue punch! Yum!

Probably stating the obvious here, but she's having a boy and the shower's theme was puppy dogs! 
We are so excited to welcome this little one into the family! And yes, there is a quilt in this baby's future. He's due to arrive at the end of April. I'm still hunting for the perfect fabric. I need to find it soon!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Ombre Chevrons!

With my Emerald Challenge quilt done, the only "must-do" I have on my list between now and March 31st is my Lovely Year of Finishes quilt. So when I came across a quick and simple sew along using Sew Caroline's chevron tutorial over at the Sew Fine Fabric blog, I couldn't resist! Making a chevron quilt is continuously on my "someday soon" list. While I don't know that I'll end up using a chevron design for this project, it was enough to attract my attention.

I chose these two fabric combinations as options from Sew Fine Fabric:

Green ombre from V & Co. and a gray/white stripe for backing/binding

Aqua dot ombre from V & Co. and an orange circle print for backing/binding

I love the solid ombre look of the green, but I was also curious how the quilt might look in a dot ombre, so I'm trying the dots first.  So far, I have my squares cut (super easy!)

And sorted into "darks" (lots of dots), "mediums" (some dots) and "light" (few dots)

Just for fun, I positioned some squares into half-square triangles to see how the dots might look. I think it'll work--it'll just be even less contrast than the ombre--but I won't really know until I get started sewing! After my experimentation with my emerald quilt last week, I'm feeling quite daring! :)

Time to get piecing these HSTs so I'm ready for week 3 of the sew along--layout and assembly! 
What do you think? Will the dots work? 

If you want to play along, check out the sew along here

p.s. Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Emerald Finish

Thanks to everyone who shared an opinion last week on what colors to use as accents in my Emerald Challenge quilt! I'm happy to say that I finished it today.

After reading the comments, I bought the exact blue of my cutting mat that several people thought was part of the quilt. And then decided not to use it.

Still not in love with anything, I went back to my original dark brown solid, thinking I could still make my original vision work.

Since I didn't like it anyway, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I cut it up into irregular strips, perpendicular to the original green columns. (Here it is randomly arranged back together.)

Then re-auditioned all the colors I tried the first time around (you know, because they worked so well originally...).


light green


and finally, blue

I liked the blue and went with that.
Thanks to everyone who suggested cutting mat blue as an accent! :)

 Here is my finished piece, a wall quilt, which measures approximately 26" x 21".
 I'm happy with it. It's more modern and abstract than probably anything I've ever done, but I had a lot of fun making it and will happily do something along the same lines again.

 And here's what I really like about it: the quilting. I rarely never show close-ups of my quilting because it's just not that remarkable (or even good). But I thought this quilt was a prime candidate for some of Angela Walters' techniques, so I pulled out my e-copy of her book and chose three different motifs to use.

Here's a close-up of all three. I especially love the boxy one in the center and was pleasantly surprised by how good it looked in my first attempt.

Here's the back of the quilt. I have NEVER had the back of a quilt look this cool.

I'm linking this to the Emerald Challenge over at a.squared.w (and also Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday).

Have you made anything with emerald?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Not quite green with envy

More like baffled with green.
I've gone cold then hot then cold on the whole Emerald as Pantone color of the year idea. Why do I care, you ask? Because Ali over at a.squared.w is hosting an Emerald challenge, and I mentally jumped on board during my "hot" mindset. Plus, she extended the deadline to St. Patrick's Day (both fitting because of the green and helpful for all of us last-minute quilters).

The "hot" mindset started when I saw this post by Lindsay over at Hawthorne Threads. Suddenly emerald looked cool. Add in the fact that you could use any shade of green in your project, not just emerald, and I was sold.

I wanted to create a quilt inspired by the look of crops in fields, like these photos:

When I started sewing, I just didn't like it. Long story short, I went down a few variations, and ended up with the idea for angled strips of a variety of greens alternating with solid strips. 
But now I'm cold again, trying to decide what color to use with the solid strips. 

I started with dark brown, as that's what I'd bought for my original idea. Then, thinking opposites, I pulled out the leftover orange-red from my bullseye quilt. On another trip to the quilt store, I grabbed the mottled light green, cream, and the butterscotch color. 

What do you think? Do any of these colors grab you? Other ideas? I wandered through the quilt shop, holding my pieced green strips up to every color and nothing gave me that "ah ha!" moment.
I'd love to hear your opinion!

p.s. Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.
p.p.s. Okay, so my quilt has very little emerald in it. I know.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March Goal: Wedding Gift Quilt Top

My tendency to procrastinate is being nicely kept in check by A Lovely Year of Finishes. It's March, month #3, and time to stitch a wedding gift. One of our best friends was married back in September. I bought the main fabric in August and had (tiny) visions of piece the quilt top before the wedding. Well, it's now March and the fabric is still in the Priority Mail envelope it arrived in. But by March 31, it will be a quilt top! 

I discovered this quilting blog last summer, ironic because I used to live about a mile or from this lady and didn't find her blog until I moved 3 states away. I bookmarked her blog for, among other things, this Urban Lattice quilt. 

The quilt-along is long over, but that's okay! I browsed through the Flickr group of Urban Lattice quilt and fell in love. Check it out yourself here. I like each one better than the last! I love the modern feel of this quilt and think my friends will too. 

Here's where I am starting the month: I have the main fabric--Kona Mushroom--and then a solid black for the sashing. I'm trying to pick through my stash for the smaller corner triangles and feeling a little stuck. It's been 6 month or so since I've seen their house, and not sure which direction to go, color-wise. I need to keep reminding myself that neither of them are quilters, so their reaction is going to be "ooh, wow a quilt!" and not, "ugh, why did she use that fabric?"
Hoping to get started on this quilt over the weekend!

What is the longest that fabric bought for a specific project has sat before you started using it? (The fabric I have for this quilt is NOT the winner in my sewing room--I have several other neglected fabrics that have been sitting around much longer!)